|Created by||John Dee|
|Setting and usage||Occult journals|
|ISO 639-3||None (|
Enochian (// ə-NOH-kee-ən) is an occult language or languages, claimed to be angelic, recorded in the private journals of John Dee and his colleague Edward Kelley in late 16th-century England. Kelley was a spirit medium who worked with Dee in his magical investigations. The men claimed that the language was revealed to them by the Enochian angels. The language is integral to the practice of Enochian magic.
The language found in Dee's and Kelley's journals encompasses a limited textual corpus, only some of it with translation. Several linguists, notably Donald Laycock, have studied the Enochian journals, and argue against any extraordinary features in the language. The untranslated language of the Liber Loagaeth manuscript recalls the patterns of glossolalia. The language of the Calls, which are translated, may be more like an artificial language. The phonology is thoroughly English; the grammar seems to be less so, but the translations are not sufficient to work out much grammar.
Dee's journals did not describe the language as "Enochian", instead preferring descriptors like "Angelical", the "Celestial Speech", the "Language of Angels", the "First Language of God-Christ", the "Holy Language" or "Adamical" because, according to Dee's Angels, it was used by Adam in Paradise to name all things. The term "Enochian" comes from Dee's assertion that the Biblical Patriarch Enoch had been the last human (before Dee and Kelley) to know the language.
Dee's Angelic language
According to Tobias Churton in his text The Golden Builders, the concept of an Angelic or antediluvian language was common during Dee's time. If one could speak the language of Angels, it was believed one could directly interact with them.
In 1581, Dee mentioned in his personal journals that God had sent "good angels" to communicate directly with prophets. In 1582, Dee teamed up with the seer Edward Kelley, although Dee had used several other seers previously. With Kelley's help as a scryer, Dee set out to establish lasting contact with the angels. Their work resulted, among other things, in the reception of the Enochian or Angelical language.
According to Laycock's linguistic analysis, the syntax of the Enochian calls is almost identical with that of English. Also, the very scant evidence of Enochian verb conjugation seems quite reminiscent of English, more so than with Semitic languages as Hebrew or Arabic, which Dee claimed were debased versions of the original Angelic language. There are only two known verbs with conjugations, one of which, "to be," is highly irregular. While some phonetic features of Enochian show a connection to glossolalia, others show similarities to the English language.
The reception of Enochian started on March 26, 1583, when Kelley reported visions in the crystal of the twenty-one lettered alphabet characteristic of the language. A few days later, Kelley started receiving what became the first corpus of texts in the purported Angelic language. This resulted in the book Liber Loagaeth ("Book [of] Speech from God"). The book consists of 49 great letter tables, or squares made of 49 by 49 letters (however, each table has a front and back side—making 98 49x49 tables in all). Dee and Kelley said the angels never translated the texts in this book.
The other set of Enochian texts was received through Kelley about a year later, in Kraków, where both alchemists stayed for some time at the court of King Stefan Batory. These come with English translations, thus providing the basis for the Enochian vocabulary. The texts comprise 48 poetic verses, which in Dee's manuscripts are called "Claves Angelicae", or "Angelic Keys". The Keys are assigned certain functions within the magical system. Dee was apparently intending to use these Keys to "open the 49 Gates of Wisdom/Understanding" represented by the 49 magic squares in Liber Loagaeth:
I am therefore to instruct and inform you, according to your Doctrine delivered, which is contained in 49 Tables. In 49 voices, or callings: which are the Natural Keys to open those, not 49 but 48 (for one is not to be opened) Gates of Understanding, whereby you shall have knowledge to move every Gate…— The angel Nalvage
But you shall understand that these 19 Calls are the Calls, or entrances into the knowledge of the mystical Tables. Every Table containing one whole leaf, whereunto you need no other circumstances.— The angel Illemese
While these texts contain most of the vocabulary, dozens of further words are found hidden throughout Dee's journals, and thousands of undefined words (effectively a second Enochian language) are contained in the Liber Loagaeth.
The Enochian script is written from right to left, and may include diacritical marks. Different documents have slightly different forms of the script. Some of the letter names are pronounced as they would be in English, but many are pronounced differently. The Enochian letters have English letter equivalents. A number of different fonts for the Enochian alphabet are available, which use the English letter equivalents to access the Enochian glyphs.
The Enochian letters are read from right to left, as written in John Dee's diary.
The Enochian alphabet is a substitution cipher for the English alphabet. The English equivalents, letter forms and letter names are as follows: Letters and combinations of letters are pronounced as in English, with all its irregularities.
|C / K||Veh|
|I / J / Y||Gon|
|U / V / W||Van|
The Australian linguist Donald Laycock has noted differences in word and sentence structure between the two revealed sets of Enochian texts (Liber Loagaeth and the 48 known keys) as an indication that Enochian is not a consistent language. According to Laycock, the texts in the Loagaeth material show phonetic features that do not generally appear in natural languages.
According to Laycock's linguistic analysis, the syntax of the Enochian calls is almost identical with that of English. Also, the very scant evidence of Enochian verb conjugation seems quite reminiscent of English, more so than with Semitic languages as Hebrew or Arabic, which Dee claimed were debased versions of the original Angelic language. There are only two known verbs with conjugations, one of which, "to be," is highly irregular. While some phonetic features of Enochian show a connection to glossolalia, others show similarities to the English language. Both languages have soft and hard consonants such as c and g, and combine s and h to make the sh sound.
As for the semantics of Enochian, additional similarities to English have been found. For example, luciftias, a term meaning brightness, may very possibly have a connection to Lucifer, whose name means "light bringer." Londoh, a word meaning kingdom, may have come from Dee's admiration for Elizabeth I. These and other examples have led skeptics to believe that many of these terms are derived from notions that would have been contemporary in Dee's and Kelley's time.
The Enochian alphabet closely follows the English alphabet, for example in having soft and hard ⟨c⟩ and ⟨g⟩, and in the digraphs ⟨ch⟩, ⟨sh⟩ and ⟨th⟩ for the /tʃ ~ k, ʃ, θ/ sounds. The alphabet also shares many graphical similarities to a script—also attributed to the prophet Enoch—that appeared in the Voarchadumia Contra Alchimiam of Johannes Pantheus, a copy of which Dee is known to have owned.
- List of magical terms and traditions
- "Language Subtag Registry". Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
- "Language Subtag Registration Form for 'i-enochian'". Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
- The Private Diary of Dr. John Dee by John Dee at Project Gutenberg
- Laycock, p. 43.
- Churton, Tobias (2002). The Golden Builders. Signal Publishing. ISBN 0-9543309-0-0.
- Deborah Harkness, John Dee's Conversations with Angels, 16-17.
- Egil Asprem (Dec 13, 2006). ""Enochian" language: A proof of the existence of angels?". Skepsis.
- This book is now in the British Library, MS Sloane 3189.
- The angel Nalvage, cited in Casaubon ed., A True and Faithful Relation…, p. 77
- The angel Illemese, cited in Casaubon ed., A True and Faithful Relation…, p. 199.
- "The Angelic or Enochian Alphabet". The Magickal Review. 2005. Archived from the original on 2011-07-12.
- "Enochian Materials". The Magickal Review. Archived from the original on 2007-08-26.
- Gerald J. Schueler, Betty Jane Schueler (2001). "Download fonts". Schueler's Online.
- James A. Eshelman (2001). "Enochian Elemental Tablets". AumHa.
- "Enochian Font". Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn. 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27.
- John Dee (1582). "MS. Sloane 3188". The Magickal Review. p. 103v–104r. Archived from the original on 2012-04-10.
- "Enochian alphabet and fonts". Omniglot. Archived from the original on 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2011-07-16.
- Donald C Laycock; Edward Kelly; Dr John Dee (1 September 2001). The Complete Enochian Dictionary: A Dictionary of the Angelic Language As Revealed to Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley. Weiser Books. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-1-57863-254-1.
- See Donald Laycock, "Enochian: Angelic language or mortal folly?", 19–64 in The Complete Enochian Dictionary.
- Laycock, "Enochian: Angelic language or mortal folly?", p.33.
- Egil Asprem (Dec 13, 2006). ""Enochian" language: A proof of the existence of angels?". Skepsis.
- Johannes Pantheus (1550). "Voarchadumia Contra Alchimiam". p. 15v-16r. Archived from the original on 2016-03-08.
- DeSalvo, John (2011). Decoding the Enochian Secrets: God's Most Holy Book to Mankind as Received by Dr. John Dee from Angelic Messengers. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books. ISBN 978-1594773648.
- DeSalvo, John (2010). The Lost Art of Enochian Magic: Angels, Invocations, and the Secrets Revealed to Dr. John Dee. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books. ISBN 978-1594773440.
- Eco, Umberto (1997). The Search for the Perfect Language. London: Fontana Press. ISBN 0006863787.
- Leitch, Aaron (2010). The Angelical Language, Volume I: The Complete History and Mythos of the Tongue of Angels. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 978-0738714905.
- Leitch, Aaron (2010). The Angelical Language, Volume II: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the Tongue of Angels. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 978-0738714912.
- Laycock, Donald; DuQuette, Lon Milo, eds. (2001). The Complete Enochian Dictionary: A Dictionary of the Angelic Language As Revealed to Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley. Boston: Weiser. ISBN 1578632544.
- Peterson, Joseph H., ed. (2003). John Dee's Five Books of Mystery: Original Sourcebook of Enochian Magic: From the Collected Works Known as Mysteriorum Libri Quinque. Boston: Weiser Books. ISBN 1578631785.
- Tyson, Donald (1997). Enochian Magic for Beginners: The Original System of Angel Magic. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 1567187471.
- Yates, Frances (1979). The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415254094.